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FEAST – Helping unemployed hospitality women back into work

Female Employability Action Supported by Travel & Tourism – a new initiative to mentor and upskill women who have lost their jobs through the impact of COVID19.

Hospitality is reopening and the excitement of teams and customers returning is being felt across the sector.  Sadly, due to Covid-19, not all employees have roles to return to and are now looking for new opportunities within the sector.  Many will be women, which isn’t surprising when you consider that over 1 million women work in the UK hospitality industry, 49% in operational roles with 11% in managerial roles.

Women in Travel & FEAST have a way to help them.

Women in Travel & FEAST

Alessandra Alonso is no stranger to the hospitality sector. As the Founder of Women in Travel CIC,  a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship in travel, tourism and hospitality, Alessandra has been an advocate for greater representation and visibility of women in the sector. Earlier this year she launched the first International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum which took place in Iceland.

Fast forward six months and Alessandra has set up FEAST, a not for profit initiative to help unemployed women in London back into work in hospitality.

Helping women capitalise on their transferable skills

We asked Alessandra why FEAST was so important right now. “Women in hospitality often have low paid, part-time or flexible roles. These are roles that have been cut due to COVID19.  We know many women who, until two or three months ago, had relatively stable jobs and opportunities who are now unemployed and really worried about their future and loss of income.”

FEAST is all about helping women who have lost their jobs in hospitality and who have amazing transferable skills. Their confidence has taken a knock and FEAST offers them an individually tailored package of support that includes one to one mentoring, skills training, and help to boost their chances of getting back into work.

How to access FEAST

FEAST is funded through the European Social Fund and is currently available in the 32 London boroughs.  The service is free for candidates and employers.  To access support women must be over 16 years of age, not in paid employment or education, be a UK resident or have a visa to live and work in the UK.

Alessandra continued, “At present there are no plans to roll out FEAST UK wide however, when a project is successful and well-received, there is an opportunity to go back to the funder and perhaps do the same in other cities.  The project closes at the end of October and we have funding to assist approximately 80 women. I would encourage anyone who meets the criteria to get in touch as soon as they can.”

Getting employers involved

Alessandra is keen to promote the benefits of employers getting involved with FEAST. “If you are faced with the hard decision to let someone go, this is a great way of supporting them through that process.  It’s free to use and can have a positive impact on employer branding. Someone receiving support through the FEAST initiative may consider that their employer cares and wants to support them, however difficult the situation is.”

“Employers are already signposting different possibilities and opportunities around wellbeing and mental health, and FEAST is a real opportunity for women in hospitality to upskill, be supported to retrain and grow their confidence, ready to take up new positions in the sector.

How to access FEAST

Any woman within the London area who is facing, or has experienced redundancy or unemployment, can contact FEAST or Alessandra through Woman in Travel CIC via the WIT website.  Employers faced with making their people redundant or unemployed can also access more information there.

Woman in Travel CIC exists to provide women with economic empowerment, using travel tourism and hospitality as a force for good.

Discover more about Women in Travel by visiting their website here

Alessandra Alonso LinkedIn

Women in Travel Twitter